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I probably should have blogged about this issue earlier, but I didn't think of it until now.
Anywho - there are several large supermarket chains around the country that are providing 14 day supplies of antibiotics for free (you need a doctor's prescription). Originally these offers ended in March (it was for cold and flu season), but some have continued the offer until July.
Now, you might think, this is great! Free generic brand antibiotics! Wow - how kind of these stores. Well, if you do think that, do I have a rant for you!
First, antibiotics are not useful against a virus such as the cold or flu virus.
Second, as a nation, we are over medicated, especially with antibiotics. At the first sign of a child's illness, parents force Doctors to write antibiotic prescriptions -- and sadly many doctors do. Giving away free antibiotics only increases this over-medication PLUS it's contributing to an alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Third, does it make any sense for food stores to encourage sick people to come to the store to possibly infect more people? OK, many food stores have had in-store pharmacies for years, so "sick" people have been going to food stores for just as long. But, we are talking about infectious diseases which are more easily transmitted from person to person.
My local supermarket has its pharmacy near the (fresh) baked goods department - isn't that a nice combination of food and germs? And what easier way to infect large groups of people than thru food such as fruits and vegetables that are wide open.
OK, I know this can happen at any time, but it's the idea that you are encouraging folks with communicable diseases to come into the store - that's what sticks in my craw.
What do you think of all this? Should supermarket chains (or any other retailer) offer free antibiotics? Does this encourage over use of antibiotics? Is such overuse harmful? Let us know your thoughts by leaving them below!
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